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Thursday, May 2, 2002

King County workshops to focus on teen safety in restaurants

TUKWILA - The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) and the Washington Restaurant Association (WRA) will conduct workshops in King County in May, June and July to provide guidance to restaurant managers and supervisors on how to prevent injuries to their teen workers.

The free, three-hour "Supervising for Safety" workshops will be held at L&I's Tukwila office, 12806 Gateway Dr. The workshop schedule is:

  • May 23, 9 a.m. to noon, and again from 1 to 4 p.m.

  • June 19, 1 to 4 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m.

  • July 24, 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m.

To register, call L&I at 360-902-6041 or the WRA at 1-800-225-7166, ext. 134. Space is limited.

The King County workshops are part of new training being conducted throughout the state in a joint L&I/WRA program to prevent slips and falls, cuts, burns and sprains to teen workers in quick-service restaurants. Those injuries account for more than 85 percent of teen injuries in restaurants. Participating restaurants will be asked to implement new safety procedures, send managers and supervisors to safety-training classes, conduct regular crew safety meetings and place "Rated R" stickers on equipment prohibited for use by teens.

An L&I Web site with more information about the program is available at www.LNI.wa.gov/scs/workstandards/teensafety/

"With aggressive support from employers and the Washington Restaurant Association, we're convinced we can continue to see a significant reduction in teen injuries," said L&I Director Gary Moore. "Making our workplaces safer should be a comforting goal for teens, parents, employers and schools."

The teen-safety program was begun in the restaurant industry because it employs up to 50 percent of teenage workers. "Many young people get their first job in our industry and go on to have wonderful careers in food service," said Gene Vosberg, WRA president. "We want that first experience to be positive and injury-free, and this program provides a significant new way to reach that goal."

Using workers' compensation claims data to identify a workplace-safety issue and then addressing the problem in collaboration with private industry is a growing new direction for L&I.

"In this case, workers will benefit from reduced injuries," Moore said. "For employers, not only do they have the potential of reducing workers' compensation costs as reportable injuries decrease, but they benefit from the goodwill of employees and customers who appreciate an emphasis on safety."

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For media information: Steve Pierce, Labor & Industries, 360-902-5405 or piet235@lni.wa.gov, or Gene Vosberg, WRA, 800-225-7166 or vosberg@wrahome.com.

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